Tom Krazit of CNET reportss that Dell has a "brilliant" idea that I am sure will fail:
Neither [new] store will carry inventory. Rather, the shops will allow customers to order products through Dell's Web site after trying out the display models...
The idea is not new, and has failed before. Gateway did it in Canada: you went to the store, looked at and touched the computers, and then walked out without buying one. After a few months, Gateway shut down the stores.
What's the problem?
You couldn't buy it and take it home. Instead, you had to wait a few weeks for it to arrive in the mail. Missing was the instant gratification that you expect from making the trek to the store.
Ordering online provides delayed gratification. You anticipate the lovely new piece of electronics to arrive in a week or so.
But having to make the drive to the store AND wait for a week results in conflicting gratifications. When gratifications conflict, consumers rebel.